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Monday, April 21, 2014

Walorski backs plan to let individuals keep non-Obamacare compliant insurance

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski backs legislation letting people keep their existing individual insurance plans, even if they run afoul of Obamacare stipulations.

Posted on Oct. 30, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:50 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, maintaining the drumbeat against the Affordable Care Act, backs legislation that would let individual insurance plan holders keep the coverage, even if it doesn’t comply with terms of the health care overhaul.

“It is unfair for our families to lose their health care plans because of Obamacare, especially after the president personally promised the American people that this would not happen,” Walorski said in a press release Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The legislation — the Keep Your Health Plan Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan — would let insurance companies keep offering individual coverage plans now available on the market through 2014, even if they don’t meet new, higher standards outlined in the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.

Reports are growing across the country of insurance companies announcing plans to cancel individual insurance policies because they won’t meet new standards of the ACA, or Obamacare, when the individual mandate goes into effect Jan. 1. In Indiana, around 178,000 Hoosiers are covered by individual insurance plans, and 108,000 of them — 61 percent of the total — have plans that don’t meet Obamacare dictates, according to the Indiana Department of Insurance.

Many Republicans and others have seized on the insurance cancellation issue, using it as additional fodder in their fight against Obamacare. Walorski and others contrast the reports with Obama’s prior comments that those satisfied with their health plans would be able to keep them, regardless of Obamacare.

“If (you) already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance,” NBC News quoted Obama as saying in 2012 in a report this week on the issue.

Obamacare backers, meanwhile, have countered the criticism, saying coverage will be more comprehensive under the higher standards of the overhaul. Moreover, credits and subsidies available to help cover insurance costs, outlined in the ACA, will offset any increases and may reduce overall costs, at least for some.

Per the Indiana Department of Insurance figures, 108,000 in Indiana are at risk of losing their personal insurance, at least as it currently exists. Walorski’s office has been contacted by some of them, including one woman who said the cost of a replacement policy complying with Obamacare stipulations would jump 77 percent to $329 a month, up from $186.

“Our families are clearly frustrated with the health care overhaul and deserve to know that they can keep their preferred plans,” Walorski said.

Aside from letting insurance companies offer existing individual plans that don’t meet ACA standards through 2014, the legislative proposal would grandfather such proposals, letting individuals keep them and be considered compliant with ACA dictates. As is, fines potentially apply to individuals who don’t comply with the individual insurance mandate.

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